Statement: New bill seeks to address ‘the blight’ of vacant and derelict housing

Dublin South Central Greens welcome the ‘Vacancy Dereliction and Regeneration Bill 2022’, launched this week by Steven Matthews TD, Green Party Spokesperson for Planning and Local Government, and Chair of the Oireachtas Housing and Planning Committee.

Patrick Costello TD for Dublin South Central stated:

“Housing, along with the cost of living, is the most critical issue in Ireland at the moment, spanning every sector of society and every age group. We know there are at least 90,000 vacant homes left idle across the country and our villages, towns and cities are blighted with neglected and derelict buildings.

“Under this Bill, homes that are vacant for at least 180 days in the preceding year would be subject to a new vacant home tax at 3% of the market value of the property, to be collected by revenue as part of the local property tax. This would be re-paid to the local authority where the vacant property lies, which for example, would fund housing needs in Dublin South Central”.

The tax would not apply to the principal private residence of the owner and includes a number of key exemptions, including if an owner is in care; if the occupant has moved temporarily for work purposes; if the property is a holiday home; or if the property is undergoing major renovations. An initiative introduced in Vancouver has seen a 25% decrease in vacant property since introducing similar tax measures in 2017.

Deputy Matthews added;

“We need to reimagine our existing built environment to create vibrant, liveable villages and towns that will also bring jobs and enhance security and safety. The Green Party is committed to rejuvenating our towns, villages and cities and ensuring they are fit for purpose for individuals and families to live, work and play. In addition to addressing vacant property, this bill also simplifies the planning process and makes it easier for ‘over the shop’ units to be brought back into residential use. This bill is in line with the objectives for the Government Housing for All and Town Centres First strategies.”